LEGO Mindstorms NXT 2.0 is the latest version of the Lego Mindstorms robot toy that is more than just a toy. It is an educational toy no doubt about that and takes LEGO to the next level.
What Is LEGO Mindstorms?
This is an educational toy/robot building kit that combines the construction and building capability of LEGO bricks with a microcomputer brick and highly intuitive programming software. It enables you to build different types of Lego Mindstorms robot that can:
The principles of using this kit are to:
Use the LEGO bricks to construct your robot
Use your computer and the software that is provided to program the robot that you just built
The drag-and-drop software gives you 16 building and programming challenges ranging from beginner to expert levels.
According to the manufacturers, it should take you about one hour to construct as well as program your first Mindstorms robot from scratch. Once you have created your first robot the possibilities for what you can do with this super creative robotic kit are endless. You can create whatever your imagination so desires.
What Age Ranges is Lego Mindstorms Most Suited For?
The LEGO Mindstorms NXT 2.0 is designed for children of ages 10 and above. If you have children that are curious about robots and like building and construction sets, and they are about 7 or 8 then you could work together and build a robot together with them.
How Difficult is it to Use LEGO Mindstorms?
Creating a LEGO Mindstorms robot is not impossible nor is it super simple – it is challenging but it can be done and you will be amazed at the robot that is created once the whole system has been put together.
When you purchase this robotic kit you are provided with everything that you will ever need. The illustrated step-by-step booklet and software is designed to show you way clearly and easily.
As an introduction to using Mindstorms to create a robot, the booklet shows how to build a basic “Quick Start” robot.
There is a BUILDING process and a PROGRAMMING process to putting a robot together.
Once you have created a robot the rest is easy – you just play with it and see what it is capable of doing.
Once the basics have been mastered and you have managed to create a basic robot then you will need to use the software that comes with the system so that you can create more advanced robots or you can find details about constructing other robots from the mindstorms website.
What is NXT Technology That Is Used In Lego Mindstorms?
NXT is the brain of your MINDSTORMS robot and is an intelligent, computer controlled LEGO brick that enables a MINDSTORMS robot to come to life and do different things.
The NXT has the following:
- 32-bit microprocessor
- Large matrix display
- Interactive Servo Motors
- Smart sensors
- 3 Output ports for motors
- 4 Input ports for sensors
- Icon based drag and drop programming software
- Wireless Bluetooth and USB connections
Interactive Servo Motors
Control your robot using the 3 interactive Servo motors
Four robotic sensors that enable your robot to “see” and thus to avoid obstacles by:
- Detect movement
- Sense and measure distance
- Detect touch
Your robot will have two Touch sensors which enable it to detect whether they are being pressed or released.
How to Use the Touch Sensors with your Robot
You can have hours of fun by incorporating the Touch sensor with your robot:
– use a touch sensor to make your robot act on a command for instance if you press the touch sensor, you can make your robot talk, walk or turn off a TV by you merely pressing a Touch sensor.
The NXT has a “Try Me” function which is used by connectinng a Touch Sensor to port 1 of the NXT and choosing the “Try Me” submenu on the NXT; this will enable you to test your Touch Sensor.
The color sensor is one of the sensors that give your robot “sight” and therefore allow it to “see”. The Ultrasonic sensor is the other sensor that gives it vision.
The color sensor can distinguish between black and white as well as bright and light colors and can detect 6 different colors and measure the light intensity of colored surfaces.
How To Use the Color Sensors with Your Robot
The Color sensor is a sophisticated part of your robot and can be used a a variety of ways. For example, you could construct a robot that will follow a red line and start to talk when it detects a red spot.
Because the color sensor can also be used as a color lamp, you can use it to light up your robot thus making it a feature of your robot.
This sensor allows your robot to see and detect objects and to avoide obstacles, detect movement and sense and measure distance.
It measures distance by calculating the time taken for a sound wave to hit an object and return (pretty much how bats measure distance). You’ll get the best readings with hard and large objects.
The loudspeaker is to enable you to listen to real sounds when you run a program (if your program includes real sounds)
You would use the USB port to download programs from your computer to the NXT or to upload data from your robot to the computer (you do this by simply connecting a USB cable to the USB port).
There is also a wireless Bluetooth connection that can be used for uploads and downloads as well.
What You Get If You Buy the LEGO Mindstorms System:
NXT programmable LEGO brick
2 Touch Sensors
3 Interactive Servo Motors
Building instructions for 4 robots
619 Lego pieces
Clearly, you have a lot of stuff to look at and go through and with the step-by-step illustrated booklet, and the software, you should be able to get up and going with your first robot in approximately 1 hour.